What can we expect from the next committee hearing on the January 6 attack on the Capitol?
Thursday’s congressional presentation will lay out in detail what Trump did from the time insurrectionists breached the Capitol until he told them to leave.
The congressional panel investigating the events of the January 6 insurrection will hold their eighth hearing on prime-time television Thursday 21 July. The House select committee members will detail minute-by-minute former President Trump’s actions or lack thereof during the 187 minutes from the time insurrectionists breached the Capitol until he told them to leave.
It’s been reported that two former White House aides will sit for live public testimony on Thursday. Both resigned on 6 January in response to what they saw occur that day in the White House. It is expected that they will expand on the disturbing testimony of fellow former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson about events inside the West Wing on that infamous day.
The two witnesses will likely testify about when Trump knew Pence was in danger
The public has already seen recorded testimony from both Matthew Pottinger, former deputy national security adviser, and Sarah Matthews, former deputy press secretary. On Thursday, it is expected that they will provide more detail on the timing of events as they occurred in the White House on 6 January.
Key among the minute-by-minute happenings is Trump’s tweet at 2:24 pm on that day. In that post he attacked his vice president saying “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done.” The message was sent 11 minutes after Pence was rushed off the Senate floor on live television as insurrectionists were streaming into the Capitol one floor below.
One of the central questions is whether Trump had been informed of the threat to his former vice president when he sent the tweet. According to committee member Representative Pete Aguilar, Matthews has testified that the former president had in fact been made aware of the situation.
Trump’s tweet attacking Pence was disturbing for White House aides
With regards to the tweet about Pence, “That was the last thing that needed to be tweeted at that moment. The situation was already bad. And so, it felt like he was pouring gasoline on the fire by tweeting that,” Matthews recalled in prior testimony of her and others present saying.
The tweet prompted Pottinger to resign that day, one of the first and most high-profile in the White House. “I read that tweet and made a decision at that moment to resign. That’s where I knew that I was leaving that day,” he said.
In her public hearing Hutchinson said Trump had been informed that people in the crowd that had come to his rally at the Ellipse prior to marching on the Capitol was heavily armed. The two pieces of evidence taken together paint a damning picture of the former president knowingly putting Pence in grave danger.
Trump delayed calling in the National Guard
Pottinger could also provide sworn testimony on the failure of the National Guard to be deployed until more than three hours after the Capitol had been breached. He reportedly returned to the White House from a meeting and only learned of the events unfolding when he got to his office a little before 3 pm.
Pottinger asked Mark Meadows if it was true that the White House was holding up the National Guard being sent to help restore order at the Capitol. Former President Trump’s last chief of staff said that he had “given very clear instructions to get the Guard over there to control the situation,” according to Jonathan Karl in his 2021 book Betrayal.
However, it wouldn’t be until 4:32 pm that then-acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller, who said he never heard from Trump, would get final approval and almost an hour before troops would arrive on the scene.